New Delhi: Air India and private airlines on Saturday continued their evacuation exercise from flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir, carrying several tonnes of relief materials and flying back almost 1,400 stranded people.
Air India flew five additional relief flights to Srinagar and two to Leh apart from its scheduled operations.
It also deployed additional Airbus A-320 aircraft to carry out sorties between Jammu and Srinagar flying army and paramilitary personnel and relief materials, including blankets and medicines.
While the national carrier flew a total of 820 passengers on five flights from Srinagar to Delhi, it carried another 150 from Leh on two flights, airline sources said.
Jet Airways also operated an additional flight to Srinagar flying to Delhi around 200 passengers, while SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir operated their scheduled flights bringing back over 300.
Meanwhile, some private helicopter operators have expressed disappointment over not being permitted by the Srinagar air traffic control, which is under the IAF, to operate there to bring back stranded people.
Officials of some of these companies, requesting anonymity, told PTI that almost 40 choppers were ready to fly back passengers, including a large number of holiday-goers stuck in Pahalgam who were not finding a way to reach Srinagar airport as all routes were flooded.
"We have received Air Defence Clearance as well as the Flight Information Clearance, but the air traffic control in Srinagar, which is under the IAF, is not allowing our movement on grounds of heavy air traffic in the region," one of these official said.
The aviation wing of the army and the IAF have also mounted large-scale operations involving 86 transport aircraft and helicopters in their rescue and relief efforts.
So far, 1,771 sorties were undertaken by the helicopters and aircraft of Armed Forces and 2,371 tonnes of relief materials have been dropped by the Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Corps in the flood-affected areas.